An image of Pelu kámané (serving bowl)

Sawos people

(Papua New Guinea  – )

Pelu kámané (serving bowl)

Not on display
Further information

Kamangaui is one of several Sawos villages known for their conical-shaped pottery bowls, used for serving food. Pots and sago are traded from Kamangaui to Timbunke and Tambanum on the Sepik River, in exchange for fish, requiring a three-hour walk in either direction.

Clay is dug solely by women who also make the initial form using a coiling technique. Men then decorate the pots with a prodigious variety of designs, each depicting specific totems of the clans they represent. With its slightly closed opening that keeps food warm, this bowl is known as a 'pelu kámané'. According to Gabriel Mowe from Kamangaui, the design recalls the 'silik nyuwa' (spider webs) found inside a village house.

[entry from Exhibition Guide for 'Melanesian art: redux', 2018, cat no 11]

Place of origin
Kamangaui Village, Middle Sepik River, East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea
Cultural origin
Sawos people
mid 20th century
collected 1965
earthenware, coiled and chip-carved
24.0 cm height; 25.5 diameter
Purchased 1965
Accession number